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Full text of "Mathematical And Physical Papers - Iii"

112  ON THE EFFECT OF THE INTERNAL FRICTION OF FLUIDS
made with a view of investigating the decrease in the arc of vibration in the case of extremely small vibrations, such as those employed in pendulum experiments. The experiments of Newton and others, in which the arc of vibration was so large that the resistance depended mainly on the square of the velocity, would be quite useless for my purpose. The pendulum experiments of Bessel and Baily contain however the requisite information, or at least some portion of it, for the arcs are registered for the sake of giving the data for calculating the small reduction to indefinitely small vibrations.
In Bessel's experiments the arc is registered for the end of equal intervals of time during the motion. The number of such registrations in one experiment amounts in some cases to eleven, and is never less than three. So far the observations are just what are wanted; but there are other causes which prevent an exact comparison between theory and experiment. In the first place the spheres were swung so close to the back of the frame that the increase of resistance due to the confinement of the air must have been very sensible. In the second place the effect of the wire must have been very sensible, especially in the case of the long pendulum. For the table of Section III. Part I., shews that for the wire (for which lit is very small) the value of Icf is much larger than that of Jc, whereas for spheres of the size of those employed, when the time of oscillation is only one or two seconds, lcr is a good deal smaller than k. Hence, if the formulae of that section applied to such fine wires, the effect of the wire on the arc of vibration would be much greater than its effect on the time of vibration, and therefore would be quite sensible. But it has been shewn in Section IV., that the effect of the wire in diminishing the arc of vibration is probably greater than would be given by the formula, and therefore the uncertainty depending on the wire is likely to amount to a very sensible fraction of the whole amount. Again, since Bessel's experiments were all made in air, no data are afforded whereby to eliminate the portion of the observed result which was due to friction at the point of support, imperfect elasticity of the wire, or gradual dissipation of vis viva by communication of motion to the supporting frame. Moreover in the case of the long pendulum the observations were made with rather too large arcs, for the law of the decrease of the